by pofigster
Blog

CCV No We're Not Ready for Next-Gen Consoles (except Wii U)

When PC gamers start talking about how much superior their gaming experience is to console gaming the first and easiest rebutal to be used is the cost of buying and upgrading a gaming PC.  And it's no joke either.  There are graphics card alone which cost the same as a base model Xbox 360 - and then you have ot SLI them so now you're talking a 250 Gb Xbox 360, or a base model 360 and a 160 Gb PS3.  And that's just for the video card!  To stay cutting edge with the latest i7 processor that's hundreds more, etc...

But do you really need that?  There are some who probably really do (well, need here is strong since nobody needs entertainment, but I hope I'm understood), but most people probably can't tell too much difference between 40 fps and 60 fps.  Screen tearing?  Sure, people can see that.  What about 2x AA versus 8x?  Vsync?  I'll be honest, when my gaming PC has Mass Effect cranked up to highest specs on everything visually versus more of a mid-level, I can't tell a difference.  My gaming PC cost me $600 - it's got a triple core 2.1 Ghz AMD process, a 9800 GT and plenty of RAM and hard drive space.  If I bought a bigger power supply, I could unlock a fourth core on the processor and the L3 cache, but I don't want to spend $150 to do it.  I'll be playing Mass Effect 3 release day on it and I don't anticipate any problems.  Why is this?  The latest and greatest games may be able to fully exploit all the amazing power of full end gaming PCs, but what does that really get us?  Slightly smoother edges?  Solid 60 fps instead of 40 - how many fps can the human eye see?  What I do know is that it does nothing to make Medal of Honor not totally suck.  I know it does nothing to reduce the level of douchebaggery on Modern Warefare.  I know Mass Effect 3's story will not get any more compelling or amazing as a result.

When my wife and I first got married I had a pseudo-gaming rig.  I say pseudo because it was getting dated for the hardware in it (it was all stuff I'd bought on clearance) and so while it could game, it really stressed the machine to make the game playable.  We didn't have a lot of money, but Fallout 3 was coming out and I had enjoyed playing the 1st installment so I saved up some money and bought it on release day.  I installed the game and was blown away by the level of detail and beauty in the landscape, the terrain - everything!  Quick frame of reference for my gaming prior to this.  I had played a lot of RTS games on the PC and my roommates had an Xbox (not 360) and a Dreamcast.  I also had owned a PS1.  So - jumping from previous gen gaming to the modern world was eye opening.  It was beautiful.  And for a time, I was enchanted.  Similarly, when my wife and I bought a 360 I loved how sharp everything was visually, especially compared to the gaming I was used to from  my bachelor days.

But as I go between my 360/PS3 and my gaming rig, even with my PC cranked up to 11 on every setting, I don't get a sensation of amazement.  I don't get on my consoles and think, "Man this looks bad!" (except for the games that look bad).  Gaming has improved visually, but it can't go to much further before we're in the uncanny valley.  And is that really what we want or need right now?  How many TERRIBLE games came out last year that were visually delightful?  How many wonderful games came out that had dated graphics (I'm looking at you Jamestown)?

Unless next gen makes developers make better games, next-gen consoles (other than the Wii U) will likely be financial failures.  There will be little to convince people to buy something that has bigger tech spec numbers (most people don't look at those as evidenced by the number of people who buy Apple products and think they're somehow magically better than those made with the exact same parts but by a different company).  I know I won't bite unless I have to (they stop making games for the current gen).  I exempt the Wii U from this because it's kind of embarassing to have a console that doesn't output HD - I mean, that's been out forever.  Also, I want to them to release the Wii U so the Wii will go down in price and I can finally buy one and catch up on all the exclusives there I've never played.

Next gen rumors have thus far promised us nothing but misery - no used games?  Come on!  The marketing hype is all out against them - now is not the time.

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